Hard work won’t make you a successful game developer. by Daniel Doan

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Here’s why… So, I want to dispel the myth about hard work. Hard work by itself simply does not make you successful. And frankly, talent doesn’t either.

If it were true, every other indie game developer I know would be celebrating their 500,000th copy sold. I’ve been lucky enough to find a lot of fulfillment in my own career and life so far, and here are some of my thoughts on this subject. So, there’s three things that you can typically demand from your work.

1. Work that you’re genuinely in love with

2. Work that you’re legitimately good at

3. Work that you can get paid for

Success and fulfilment comes to those who won’t stop until they’ve landed a gig that encompasses all three. In reality though, this is super easy to say, but hard to do.

For example…

If you’re doing work that you’re not genuinely in love with, it sucks. You might get paid pretty well, but you know deep down that you’re unhappy. Your job is a burden, your dreams are fading with each pay check, and you feel trapped. You might spend your earnings on finding or doing the thing that really makes you happy.

If you’re doing work that you’re not that great at, it sucks. You might feel like you’re desperate for success, but you can’t seem to compete with your peers. Day by day, you feel woefully inadequate.

If you’re doing work that you’re not rewarded for, it sucks. You might feel unappreciated. You’re frustrated by people around you who seemingly are a lot less talented. Yet, they’re the ones who seem to get all the glory. Life’s unfair. Now, consider what it’d be like if you didn’t want to compromise. Because you’re in love with your work, your happiness is truly intrinsic. Your work makes you happy. This may sound far-fetched, but happiness is missing from a lot of most people’s careers. Say you’re a great game developer. By itself though, the world honestly has no need for you. I’m sorry for being blunt.

There are countless amazing and unemployed game developers. To succeed? To turn it into a career?

You need to become remarkable. Perhaps through brilliant gameplay systems, a perspective-changing and impactful story, or a masterfully crafted engagement loop.

If you can’t handle this, you’d better start being good at finding people who can help get you there. Practice every day, and learn from peers. Seek out mentors.

Get serious about growth. If you’re brutally honest with yourself, you’ll realize that there are only two things that matter. Where you’re at right now, and what needs to be done to get to where you want to be. Realizing where you’re at will be a huge ego hit, and realizing what needs to be done will almost always involve a lot of personal sacrifice. I had to give up an IT career that I spent almost 10 years building in order to pursue my dream of working full time in the games industry. My only wish is that I’d had the courage to do it sooner.

So, why am I so passionate about helping others in game development?

1. I’m genuinely in love with it (I wake up each morning genuinely excited about what I get to do for a living)

2. I’m good at it (I’ve done hundreds of consulting sessions, with overwhelmingly positive feedback)

3. I can get paid for it (I’m lucky enough to have had hundreds of awesome clients)

While fulfillment is a deeply personal goal, it’s quite simple. As humans, we want to reach the limits of our own potential. Are you reaching yours?

This article is written by Daniel Doan, Co-Founder and CGO of Black Shell Media. It has been cross-posted on here with his permission. You can find more of his writing here: http://www.danieldoan.net

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